Last Saturday, my parents and I visited a Renaissance Festival in little Croatian city, Koprivnica. The entrance fee was symbolic and many people decided to visit. The line to purchase tickets was about 100 metres long but that didn’t kill the mood if anything it gave a feeling like you’re visiting on the day of the fair. I love that they used the medieval tower as an entrance to the festival grounds.
The minute you pass the bridge and enter the tower, you have a feeling like you went back in time. All the stands and shops look like from that period of time and all the sales people are dressed in renaissance costumes to help create the mood of the fourteenth century. The pubs look the same as back then, bassically you sit on the hay stacks while drinking or eating, they serve nettle beer made the same way it used to be made in the fifteenth century. They don’t serve anything in plastic cups or on plastic plates. There are ceramic cups and oval plates. You pay the bail for a ceramic cup and you can return it at the end and they give you your money back but if you want you can take it home with you as a souvenir. That’s exactly what I did, the price was low and I wanted something to remember this Saturday trip. Of course another major plus is that there is less rubbish so we saved a bit of nature.
While walking around there are tents where knights are training and “living”, they have fires lit and are cooking dinner so I, personally, had a feeling like we’re interrupting their dinner time. The food they were preparing looked really yummy but sadly no one invited us for dinner.
At the restaurant/pub on the menu were, mostly, dishes I never even heard off but that’s quite normal since they were making food after fourteenth, fifteenth century recipes. One that stuck with me was roasted chicken with nettle. After purchasing and trying nettle, honey cookies, I came to conclusion that they loved to use nettle while cooking/baking. I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit sceptical with the nettle cookies but they were actually really good, especially because they had honey and cinnamon in them and they were basically the cookies my grandma makes every Christmas.
When the night time came, most of the stands lit the candles since that was the only source of light back in the olden days. Candles were also lit on the “streets” so that people could see where they were going, not that it provided much light, but it prevented people from twisting their ankles on the hilly grounds.
The knights that had their tents all around the grounds started preparing for the battle. Once the it was pitch black, after 8 p.m. the band stopped playing and a man started to tell a true tale about attack on the city and its fall. The knights from 11 countries gathered there and reconstructed the battle. The cannons were going off, fire balls and fire arrows were flying around the battle field. On one side of the battle field was a “castle” and king and queen were watching the battle from there. The hay that was in front of the castle burnt down and the smoke was all over the grounds. The bodies of fallen knights were laying on the ground while the victory army celebrated and got ovations from the audience.
After the battle was over and field cleared of all the remainings from canons, the Furunkulus band from Germany had a concert. The music was in Renaissance style and it was nice to hear that kind of music in the basically original setting from that time.
The festival lasted for three days, from Friday, the 26th of August until Sunday, the 28th of August, I visited the second afternoon/evening and it’s not hard to tell that there were few thousand people there. There were people from all over the country but you could hear some foreign languages. The experience is really amazing and the organisators did a really great job with putting it together. This was the 11th year of this festival but I went for the first time and there is no doubt in my mind that I want to go again next year because I think it will be even bigger and better than it was this year. I highly recommend to anyone who has a chance and wants to, to go and enjoy going back in time for a few hours. You don’t necessarily have to wait a year and visit this exact one, there are many more of these kinds of festivals at the old castle grounds around Europe. I’m going to remember this experience for a long time and I’ll be waiting next year to go and experience medieval times all over again.